McKay’s milestone could be delayed again
BRISBANE Roar coach John Aloisi put his team before the occasion in delaying Matt McKay's 250th A-League appearance by at least another round.
No longer an automatic first-team selection following the arrival of silky Spaniard Alex Lopez, Roar club captain McKay watched all of Brisbane's 0-0 weekend draw with Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium from the bench.
It came a week after the 35-year-old midfielder was only required for just the final six minutes of the Roar's 1-1 season-opening draw against Central Coast Mariners.
McKay seems certain to again be among the substitutes for the Roar's away clash on Saturday night against Perth Glory.
Aloisi said he "would have loved" to bring McKay on against the Phoenix but did not want to make changes in an area of the park he believed the Roar were commanding.
"Alex (Lopez) and Thomas Kristensen were doing well," Aloisi said.
"It would have been nice if we were a couple of goals up and I could have brought him (McKay) on, but I didn't really want to change that midfield because we were dominating in there, and we were comfortable in terms of the way we were defending."
Aloisi was full of praise for Lopez, who for the second week in succession was a standout performer.
"Alex Lopez again showed his quality. He was best player on the pitch by a country mile," Aloisi said.
Should Brisbane's midfield of Lopez, Kristensen and Stefan Mauk continue to shine, McKay's best chance at regaining a spot in the starting 11 could be as a left fullback.
Despite his preference for the midfield, McKay is no stranger to the left back role, having played there for the Socceroos.
Youngster Connor O'Toole has been the Roar's left back for the first two weeks of the season.
And while he has looked impressive going forward, O'Toole's defensive contribution needs work.
"He was our outlet a lot of the time in terms of going forward," Aloisi said of O'Toole.
"On the ball technically he's very good and we know he can get good crosses in and combine well."
Stefan Nigro, who won a championship last season with Melbourne Victory, is also contending for the left back spot.
"The spirit's really good. Everyone wants to win and whether they're in the starting 11 or not, they're performing well in training and putting in because they want to be ready for when they get their chance," Aloisi said.